Met creates specialist team to tackle the rise in gold thefts across London
PUBLISHED: 13:39 16 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:54 16 September 2013
The Metropolitan Police Service has launched a dedicated operation to target the rising theft of gold across London.
What is SmartWater
SmartWater is an anti-theft liquid that can be used on valuable items.
No two SmartWater solutions have the same forensic code, meaning that marked items can be traced back to where they came from, provided that the solution applied has been registered with SmartWater.
The solution is invisible under normal light, but glows brightly under UV light, making it easily identifiable by the police.
It also allows the police to link suspects with crime scenes.
Users should register with SmartWater and display signage to warn thieves.
A specialist team of officers will be on hand to probe burglaries, robberies and snatches involving gold jewellery.
In addition any crime where the victim believes they were targeted because of their gold possessions will also be investigated by the team.
Although the operation will focus on the theft of all gold across the capital, the city’s Asian community will be at the forefront of proactive work as they account for a disproportionately high amount of victims.
Asian households account for 24 percent of all burglaries whereby jewellery was taken and account for 16 percent of all repeat burglary victims.
The launch comes a month after Brent Police warned residents to keep their jewellery hidden under their clothing after a woman was subjected to a chain snatch in Wembley.
As part of the new operation officers will be making better use of SmartWater marking which can be read under an ultra violet light.
Londoners will be encouraged to apply the anti-theft liquid to their valuables which makes them traceable if they are stolen and later recovered by the police.
Officers will use UV lamps during police raids, when examining prisoner property and during visits to pawn-brokers and second hand traders to identify stolen items which had been daubed with Smartwater.
The operation is timed to encourage Londoners to be extra vigilant against burglaries as the nights draw in and the season of Asian religious festivals such as Eid, Diwali and Navratri begin.
Detective Chief Inspector Jane Corrigan, who is leading the operation, said: “Gold is highly desired by criminals due to its increasing value, the reluctance of owners to property mark their jewellery and the speed and anonymity in which it can be exchanged for large sums of cash.
“This new way of recording and working on gold related offences will compliment other operations and reduce the effects of serious acquisitive crime.”